New lifeboat facility under construction

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WORK has begun on the long-awaited new lifeboat facility at Montrose.

The skyline at the harbour is often dominated by cranes, but this one in Wharf Street has caught the attention of many people as it assists with the construction of the steel framework.

And a spokeswoman for the RNLI confirmed that the work relates to the new jetty and berth for the lifeboat.

She added: “It is hoped that work on the station will begin early next year.”

More than three years ago, we reported that plans were about to be submitted to Angus Council after Montrose Port Authority gave the RNLI the site.

At the time, the RNLI’s John West said: “The harbour gave the RNLI a site in 1988 that was away from everything. But now the area has been developed with a warehouse, weighbridge, log company and access to Reid Chemicals. The station is not in a position that is conducive for what the station is for - emergencies. I feel the new station will really be in keeping with the historical area of Wharf Street.

“It’s going to be accessible to the public, without going into the harbour. It will also raise the awareness of the RNLI, as you can see it from the A92 and the bridge.

“It will also be quicker for the crew to access it and attend emergencies without having to go through the obstacle course of the harbour when there is a call-out, which will be a benefit to everyone.”

The new station will be the base for the £1.5 million Shannon class RNLB Ian Grant Smith which is being constructed as a result of a bequest from the estate of Mr Smith’s widow. The boat is due to arrive in 2013. Its design features twin water jets instead of propellers, allowing it to operate in shallow water and be highly manoeuvrable, giving the crew greater control when alongside other craft and in confined waters.

Facilities at the new station will include a crew parking area, a souvenir outlet, changing area and a boathouse.